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Tigers better, but fall just short

Tigard is edged 17-14 by No. 4 Sheldon in Friday's thriller
by: DAN BROOD, GET AWAY FROM ME -- Tigard quarterback Ryan Gorton (left) pushes away Sheldon's Zach Todd in Friday's game. The Irish won 17-14.

TIGARD -- Things certainly seemed to go better for the Tigard High School football team.

But they didn't quite go well enough for the Tigers to get their initial win of the season.

Tigard, which had a combined 13 turnovers in its first two games of the season -- a 51-35 loss to Westview and a 55-10 setback at the hands of Lincoln -- went turnover-free on Friday, but was still edged 17-14 by No. 4-ranked Sheldon in a thrilling non-league game played at Tigard High School.

'This is better than the last two weeks,' Tigard junior quarterback Ryan Gorton said after the game. 'We're closing the gap on our potential. It's still real tough to lose a game like this, but, oh yeah, we're feeling better. There were way more positives tonight.'

Tigard dropped to 0-3 on the season with the setback. Sheldon, which bested Willamette 55-0 in its season-opener last week, improved to 2-0 with the victory.

Tigard grabbed the first lead in the back-and-forth contest. The Tigers took a 7-0 advantage when junior receiver Patrick Chabreck, taking the ball on a reverse, completed a 42-yard touchdown pass to wide-open senior receiver Chase Dalton, coming with 10 minutes and 59 seconds left in the second quarter.

But Sheldon came right back, answering with an 81-yard scoring drive. Irish junior running back Zach Todd capped off the 11-play march with a 3-yard scoring run. Todd fumbled the ball as he crossed the goal line, but it was ruled that he had entered the end zone before losing the ball. His TD tied the game at 7-7 with 5:54 left in the first half.

The Irish took their first lead of the game, at 10-7, on a 36-yard field goal by senior Jack Dukeminier coming with 32.7 second left before halftime.

Tigard, getting runs of 35 and 14 yards by junior Scott Grady, threatened before the intermission, but a long-range field goal attempt was blocked to end the half.

The Tigers, however, regained the lead in the third quarter. Behind the running of Grady, Tigard moved the ball to Sheldon 9-yard line. On fourth-and-goal from the Irish 3-yard line, Gorton scored on a bootleg run around the right end, giving the Tigers a 14-10 advantage with 4:12 left in the period.

But, again, Sheldon was able to come back. Senior quarterback Alex Besaw guided the Irish on a nine-play, 65-yard march, ending the drive himself with a 1-yard TD on a quarterback sneak, giving Sheldon a 17-10 lead with 9:40 left in the contest.

Tigard had a chance to tie the game, but, a 40-yard field goal attempt, while having plenty of distance, hooked just left of the uprights, leaving the Irish with their three-point lead with 5:01 left to play.

The Tigers got the ball back one last time on their own 22-yard line with 21.5 seconds left, but they weren't able to pull off a last-second shocker.

Still, Tigard players were quick to point out, they left the game feeling better than they had the prior two weeks.

'It's actually think this is the first game we've played a whole four quarters,' Grady said. 'I'm proud of every-one. I can't be mad. I think we'll build on this from here on out.'

Grady was the game's top rusher with 153 yards on 21 carries. He also had a 41-yard kickoff return. Dalton was Tigard's top receiver with three catches for 65 yards.

For Sheldon, Besaw completed 15 of 22 pass attempts for 203 yards. Todd rushed for 121 yards on 24 carries and senior receiver Matt Arbuckle had seven receptions for 93 yards.

For a complete game story, with statistics and photos, see the Sept. 21 issue of the Tigard/Tualatin Times.